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Evaluating Commercial Specialty Mushroom Production Feasibility for Diversified Farms and Small Woodland Owners in Western WA

Forest-grown specialty mushroom production may be an economical, low-impact, ecologically-appropriate enterprise for diversified farms and small woodland owners in western WA and the greater western Pacific Northwest (PNW). Nonetheless, to date, there has been little Extension research, publications, or formalized programs in the PNW on this subject as a commercial enterprise. In contrast, several northeastern and midwestern agroforestry Extension initiatives have developed commercial-scale, forest-grown specialty mushroom production systems and enterprise budgets. These systems use harvested hardwood as a substrate and mushrooms are cultivated under existing forest canopy. In contrast to the environments that these systems were developed in though, the western PNW environment has 1) markedly milder winter temperatures, 2) more limited choices of native hardwoods, and 3) markedly drier, lower-humidity summers. Nonetheless, our densely-forested, high precipitation environment should be naturally-conducive to producing mushrooms. We propose a project that evaluates the adaptability of production systems developed by Extension in the eastern US for several species of specialty mushrooms to the western PNW. Using three research sites in two distinct regions of western WA, we will evaluate 1) multiple species of locally available hardwoods for their potential to sustain mushroom production 2) production systems that mitigate effects of sustained low-humidity summers, and 3) estimate commercial forest-grown mushroom production potential for the western PNW context. Project results will be disseminated at regional forestry and agriculture events in year two, and used for leveraging further funding from external grants.

Grant Information

  • Project ID: 188
  • Project Status: Ongoing

2019

  • Principal Investigator(s): O'Dea, J.
  • Investigator(s): Bramwell, S., Shults, P.
  • Grant Amount: $39794